Thursday, 26 May 2011

The truth of the matter

When Kathy Kirby died last week her family put out a short statement saying that she had died after a short illness.
She died after almost 30 years of living reclusively in a Kensington flat. For many of those years her life was controlled by people who I have come to know were only in it for what they could get out of it.
In 2005 I published a book for her last manager, James Harman, one of the people I just mentioned.
As a result Kathy's family, and particularly her niece,  Sarah Jane Thatcher, began to take an interest in the lady they had basically ignored for 30 years. I am aware that Lady Sarah had not seen her aunt for 30 years but comparatively recently acquired her power of attorney.
In one conversation Sarah described the conditions in which she found her aunt as "squalor".
Kathy had a package of ailments which came with the lifestyle she had lived during the heady days as a singer in the sixties, and beyond. Apart from some hospitalisation she had survived with it and told me personally that she was happy and wanted to stay where she was.
In today's Telegraph Sarah described there being a "special bond" between her and Kathy. It must be very difficult to have a special bond when one lives in Spain. It would have been even more difficult to maintain that bond when one's husband, Sir Mark Thatcher, had just bought a new multi-million pound home in Barbados.
Kathy had a package of care to help with her daily needs and up three days before her death was happy and coping with what her life had become.
Then on Monday May 16th 2011 a number of people arrived at her flat, Sarah among them. Kathy's dearest friends, who kept in touch only by telephone because of the distance between them, last spoke to her on the Sunday and Monday. There was absolutely no indication from her that she was leaving her beloved flat, but leave she did, and was taken to Brinsworth House. Brinsworth is a house for retired entertainment people in Twickenham.
On Thursday Kathy died there. Only one of her regular friends was informed. The lady to whom Sarah spoke only a few days before Kathy left her home, and who had spent countless hours keeping this great lady company, learned of her friend's death through the media.
Today's Telegraph column says her funeral next week will be a private family affair. Her legion of fans across the world are unlikely to know where. Her closest friends do not know where, or when. They, at least, deserve to.
As in life, Kathy in death maintains the enigmatic aura. It is surely remiss of her family to keep from her fans the place of her funeral. It is said a memorial service will take place later in the year at the church of St Martin's in the Field, London.
Will it?

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